Melegueta pepper is a herb that consists of a pod and has seeds inside it. The pods are of reddish clour while the seeds inside are black. Melegueta pepper closely resembles cardamom. The seeds of this herb are used as a spice in many dishes.
The seeds of melegueta pepper have a black pepper-like taste with a bit of citrus flavor, so melegueta pepper is considered a good replacement for black pepper to be used as a spice in dishes. Melegueta pepper, like almost all other spices, has a long shelf life and can be used for a long time.
How to store Melegueta pepper?
Melegueta pepper is a dry spice that can last for months to even years if stored properly. You can store it either as a whole or in the grounded form. The whole form of spice will, however, last longer than the grounded melegueta pepper.
Wherever you decide to store melegueta pepper, ensure that the place is cool and dry away from heat or sunlight. Heat will make melegueta pepper spoil faster as it is sensitive to a warmer temperature. The same is the case if it is exposed to moisture. Moisture will also spoil melegueta pepper faster than normal and turn it soggy. So the best place where you can store melegueta pepper is as follows.
In the pantry
The best place where you can store melegueta pepper is at a cool, dry place in the pantry at room temperature. Before that, you have to make sure that the spice is properly packed. Whether you are storing a whole spice or grounded melegueta pepper, put it in an air-tight jar or container. Please make sure that you use a properly sealed jar.
Store in Airtight Container
After putting the melegueta pepper in the air-tight jar, look for a place in the pantry that is dry and away from sunlight, and then put the jar there. The reason to store melegueta pepper in an air-tight jar is that if melegueta pepper gets exposed to air, it can absorb moisture from it, and moisture will speed up the rotting process of melegueta pepper. Heat also has the same effect as a spice; that is why you should ensure melegueta pepper is stored away from any heat.
Do not Store in Refrigerator
Storing the melegueta pepper in the refrigerator or freezer is usually not recommended as the humid environment of a refrigerator or freezer turns the spice soggy and more prone to bacteria or mold growth.
Can you freeze melegueta pepper?
Although a few people believe that it is a good option to freeze melegueta pepper because of the freezer’s cool and dark environment, freezing the spice is not recommended. Melegueta pepper will stay away from any heat inside the freezer, but the spice will absorb the moisture inside the freezer and become soggy. Bacteria and mold will also start to grow on melegueta pepper inside the freezer.
Even then, if you still want to freeze the spice, then store it in an air-tight container. It will help the spice to stay away from moisture.
How long does melegueta pepper last?
Melegueta pepper, like almost all other spices, has a long shelf life. It can last from months to even years on the counter at room temperature if stored properly. The shelf life of the whole melegueta pepper spice is longer than that if stored in a grounded form.
In a cool, dry place in the pantry at room temperature, grounded melegueta pepper will last for seven to eight months, provided that it is stored in an air-tight jar. On the other hand, whole melegueta pepper in a properly sealed container will last from two to three years on the counter.
If you store melegueta pepper near any heat source or a place where sunlight directly falls on the spice, melegueta pepper will spoil faster than normal. Similarly, if melegueta pepper will constantly contact air, it will absorb moisture and decay faster.
How to tell if melegueta pepper is bad?
Melegueta pepper does not spoil easily. It can stay fresh for a long time if it is stored properly. If melegueta pepper is not stored in favorable conditions or has passed its best-by date, it will show changes in its appearance, smell, or taste.
Following are some signs that are shown by spoiled melegueta pepper
- If a mold appears on the spice, you should throw the whole container away.
- Decaying melegueta pepper will start showing a discoloration of its pods and seeds. So if you notice any discoloration on it, get rid of the spice.
- Spoiled melegueta pepper will become soggy, especially the grounded one.
- If the spice has started to give off a decaying smell, it means it is no longer fresh.
- If melegueta pepper will start to taste that you notice hits differently to your taste buds, it is time to get rid of it.